‘Evil has returned’ to Ukraine

Few Ukrainians had heard of the 1941 massacre of Jews, until the memorial park was established over the last two years. No list of the dead had ever been compiled.

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Columnists

July 18, 2022 - 4:44 PM

A young man stands at the ''Crystal Wall of Crying'' at the Babyn Yar memorial. Until the liberation of the Ukrainian capital by the Red Army in November 1943, around 100,000 people were murdered in Babyn Jar (Old Woman's Gorge). The gorge is considered the largest mass grave in Europe. (Britta Pedersen/dpa via ZUMA Press/TNS)

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainians refer to Vladimir Putin as “Putler,” an amalgamation of Putin and Adolf Hitler.

The label is more than a jab at Putin’s obscene lie that Russia invaded Ukraine to fight Nazis — or a reaction to Russia’s relentless bombing of civilian targets. “Putler” describes a Russian killer who is mocking the “never again” pledge Western leaders made after Hitler’s genocide against Jews and slaughter of millions of other Europeans.

My visit to the jolting Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial in Kyiv, accompanied by its former deputy CEO, Ruslan Kavatsyuk, is a moving reminder of why the term “Putler” perfectly suits this soulless man.

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